Omaha Public Schools teachers and coaches will make more money the next two school years as part of an agreement between the teachers union and the district.
Teachers and employees such as nurses and counselors also will work more days, said Chris Proulx, president of the Omaha Education Association, the OPS teachers union.
“It was a good deal all around,” Proulx said.
The OPS board last week approved the agreement that covers next school year and 2014-15. About 79 percent of the union's 2,650 members voted for the agreement, Proulx said.
Under the deal, teachers will get a 3.1 percent pay increase in each of the next two school years. Base pay for teachers is $34,196 this school year and will grow to $35,256 and $36,349 the next two years.
With the added pay comes extra workdays.
In past years, OPS teachers agreed to a 190-day contract but had only 186 scheduled workdays, Proulx said.
The other four days were an acknowledgment by the district that teachers worked more than they were paid for, such as extra time spent grading tests or homework, Proulx said.
“It was really helpful in some ways to get rid of that mystery number and make it black and white: 'These are your duty days,” he said.
Last week the OPS board converted three of the extra days into regular student days and the fourth day as a teacher training and planning day for future school years.
Coaches also will get raises over the next two years, with the larger coming in 2014-15. For instance, this school year, OPS head varsity football coaches make $6,100. That goes up to $6,200 next year and $6,930 the following year.
An OPS varsity girls golf coach said the raises are appreciated, but OPS coaches still get paid far less than their counterparts in other large Nebraska districts, such as Lincoln and Millard.
“There's still work to be done,” said Mary Buresh, who also teaches physical education at Bryan High.
The agreement also calls for the employee health insurance deductible to increase, from $600 to $750 for individuals and from $1,200 to $1,500 for families.
The union negotiates for all 3,800 certificated employees excluding administrators, although not all are dues-paying union members.
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